Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
Compromise,that precisely four years and a quarter after he declared that Compromise to be a sacred thing, which no ruthless hand would ever dare to touch, he himself brought forward the measure ruthlessly to destroy it. By a mere calculation of time it will only be four years more until he is ready to take back his profession about the sacredness of the Compromise abolishing the slave-trade. Precisely as soon as you are ready to have his services in that direction, by fair calculation, you may be sure of having them.
But you remember and set down to Judge Douglass debt, or discredit, that he, last year, said the people of Territories can, in spite of the Dred Scott decision, exclude your slaves from those Territories; that he declared by unfriendly legislation the extension of your property into the new Territories may be cut off in the teeth of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States.
He assumed that position at Freeport on the 27th of August, 1858. He said that the people of the Territories can exclude slavery, in so many words. You ought, however, to bear in mind that he has never said it since. You may hunt in every speech that he has since made, and he has never used that expression once. He has never seemed to notice that he is stating his views differently from what he did then; but by some sort of accident, he has always really stated it differently. He has always since then declared that the Constitution does not carry slavery into the Territories of the United States beyond the power of the people legally to control it, as other property. Now, there is a difference in the language used upon that former occasion and in this latter day. There may or may not be a difference in the meaning, but it is worth while considering whether there is not also a difference in meaning.
What is it to exclude? Why, it is to drive it out. It is in some way to put it out of the Territory. It is to force it across the line, or change its character so that, as property, it is out of existence. But what is the controlling of it as other property? Is controlling it as other property the same thing as destroying it, or driving it away? I should think not. I should think the controlling of it as other property would be just about what you in Kentucky should want. I understand the controlling of